About the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

At a glance

CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) is a leader in efforts to prevent cancer, find cancer early, and improve the health of cancer survivors.

Middle-aged female patient talking with doctor.

What we do

In the United States, 1.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and 600,000 people die from it. Cancer care costs $185 billion each year. Cancer is the nation's second leading cause of death, but more than half of cancer deaths could likely be prevented by reducing causes of cancer and increasing screening and vaccinations.

DCPC works to reduce factors that increase cancer risk and promotes cancer screenings. These activities help every person have an equal opportunity to achieve the best health possible.


Collect data on cancer cases and treatment

DCPC runs the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and coordinates with other federal agencies to collect data on nearly all cancer cases in the United States. These data are used to help guide efforts to prevent cancer and catch it early.

NPCR data can be used to answer questions such as:

  • Are more or fewer people getting colon cancer this year compared to last year?
  • Are women in certain geographic areas more likely to have breast cancer at a late stage, when it's harder to treat?
  • What groups of people are most likely to get skin cancer?

Read more: Cancer Registries in Action

Promote colorectal cancer screening

Colorectal cancer is a leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn't have to be. Colorectal cancer screening can find precancerous polyps—abnormal growths in the colon or rectum—so they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment works best.

CDC's Colorectal Cancer Control Program funds 20 states, 8 universities, 2 tribal organizations, and 5 other organizations to increase colorectal cancer screening rates for people aged 45 to 75.

Promote breast and cervical cancer screening

Getting mammograms, Pap tests, and human papillomavirus (HPV) tests regularly can lower the risk of dying of breast or cervical cancer. These tests help find cancer early, when treatment works best. Cervical cancer screening tests can also prevent cancer by finding precancerous lesions (abnormal growths) before they turn into cancer.

CDC's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) funds all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, 5 US-Affiliated Pacific Islands, and 13 tribes or tribal organizations. These programs provide breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to women with low incomes and little or no health insurance. Women who are diagnosed with cancer through the NBCCEDP may qualify for treatment through Medicaid.

Read more: Enhancing Clinical Services for Patients

Fund states to prevent and control cancer

CDC's National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (NCCCP) funds all 50 states, the District of Columbia, 7 US territories and freely associated states, and 7 tribes or tribal organizations to:

  • Build groups of partners that share resources and expertise to fight cancer.
  • Use data from cancer registries, behavioral risk factor surveys, and other sources to learn which cancers and risk factors affect their communities most.
  • Improve access to screening and treatment.
  • Reduce cancer risk factors and improve cancer outcomes for groups affected by health disparities.
  • Respond to the physical, financial, and emotional needs of cancer survivors and their families.

Read more: NCCCP Success Stories

Help educate people about cancer

The Bring Your Brave campaign educates women younger than 45 about breast cancer. The campaign shares real stories to inspire young women to learn their risk of breast cancer and talk with their doctor about how to reduce it.

CDC's Inside Knowledge About Gynecologic Cancer campaign raises awareness among women and medical professionals about the five main types of gynecologic cancer: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar.

The Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign raises awareness of the importance of screening for colorectal cancer.

Our impact

Since 1991, NBCCEDP-funded programs have provided more than 16 million breast and cervical cancer screening tests. These tests have found nearly 78,000 breast cancers and more than 5,000 cervical cancers.

The NCCCP brings together organizations to create plans that help lower the number of people affected by cancer. With support from the NCCCP, cancer coalitions have produced 65 comprehensive cancer control plans.


Lisa Richardson
Director's Bio
Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH

Dr. Richardson leads the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.